Applying for scholarships is an overwhelming process. Our staff at the Fayette Community Foundation understands that the scholarship application process is not something you can do on a whim. We have been giving out scholarships for three decades, so we understand the painstaking effort put into every application. That is why we want to prepare you with three important tips that you and your parents may find helpful. These are tips that you can use when applying for the scholarships we facilitate or any other scholarship application. It is also important to remember that scholarships are not just for college-bound students. You can find plenty of grants and scholarships on the web for students attending trade schools, a cosmetology school or certification classes.
Begin your scholarship search as soon as you can. Searching for scholarships might seem like a full-time job when you begin. There are many scholarships available and it can be difficult to find the ones that you are eligible for. When beginning this search start local. Talk to your guidance counselor and/or research local organizations that may offer scholarship opportunities. If you are graduating from Connersville High School, we would encourage you to apply for our many scholarships managed by the Fayette Community Foundation. Our application window opens on February 11. Click here to learn more about your eligibility. While you are checking out local scholarships, make sure to search the web for additional scholarship options. This is a great resource for finding all kinds of scholarships you would not normally know about. This scholarship search tool from the Department of Labor is a great place to begin your search online.
The sooner you begin looking for scholarships, the sooner you can begin applying. Some scholarship deadlines are a year out from when you begin your first semester in college. In a perfect world that would mean you would begin applying for scholarships your junior year of high school. We understand that situations differ for each student. There are all kinds of scholarships that have different deadlines. So, don’t sweat it if you are beginning right now.
Scholarship Tip #2: Make Your Essay Stand Out
Essays are one of the most dreaded parts of the application process. Spending hours writing a thousand-word essay doesn’t really seem worth it when a scholarship is only worth $500. Don’t feel too overwhelmed. There are some simple steps to ensure that your essay stands out from the crowd.
Many scholarships will give you a prompt or ask you to write about something you are passionate about. Before you begin writing, consider these things:
- Who is your audience?
- Have I already written about this subject?
- Do I have any real-life examples?
It is important to ask yourself each of these questions before you begin writing. First, do some in-depth research on who is going to be reading your essay. By understanding your audience, you can communicate more efficiently. Second, have you already written about this subject before? If you have already written a similar essay it is perfectly acceptable to reuse your own writing. Be careful when submitting an essay more than once. Each essay should be unique to the scholarship, which will help it to stand out from others. Lastly, do you have any real-life experience with something related to the prompt? This is a great way to show your personality and connect with the scholarship board.
One additional suggestion would be to proofread as many times as possible because simple grammatical errors can affect the way a scholarship board reads your essay. Have a trusted adult proof-read your essay or use an online grammar checker such as Grammarly. Following each of these steps will ensure that your essay is unique and well written.
Scholarship Tip #3: What Makes You Unique?
Some scholarships you will be applying for will have thousands of applicants while others may only have a handful. In both instances, it is important to understand what makes you stand out. Ask yourself:
- What are some unique experiences I’ve had?
- What are some challenges I’ve overcome?
- Am I or my parents a part of any clubs or organizations?
- Do I have any unique hobbies or play sports?
Using the things that make you special or unique will help you stand out in the application process. It can also make you eligible for certain scholarships that other people can’t apply for. A great example of these would-be students who are active in boy scouts or have received their Eagle Scout Badge. The Boy Scouts of America website offers a resource for all scholarships that are available to active Scouts or Eagle Scouts. This is just one example, but there are so many other scholarships available like this for students involved in extracurricular activities. Deciding what makes you stand out from a crowd will be tremendously helpful when writing an essay or using a scholarship matching tool.
Scholarship Tips: How Parents or Caregivers Can Help
If you are a parent or caregiver reading this blog, 3 Scholarship Tips for Students, and you are trying to help your high school student apply for scholarships, we have some advice for you, too! The scholarship process is just as overwhelming for adults as it is for high schoolers. We know that you want to help your child in every way possible and here are some ways you can do it.
- Talk to your employer
- What are you involved in?
- Be a support system
Scholarship applications are one of the first college responsibilities your student will have, so let them take the lead. To assist them in this process you can ask your employer if they have any scholarship opportunities available for students of employees. This could be an added benefit of your job. Take a moment to think of any clubs or organizations you may be a part of. Often times organizations will have scholarship opportunities available for members and their children. Finally, be their support system. Encourage them to independently apply for scholarships. Help them organize, proofread and keep them motivated. Responsibility is something that we are trying to cultivate at the Fayette Community Foundation. If your child is eligible to apply for our scholarships, please have them contact us directly with their questions. For more information about our scholarships click here.